Nobel Prize in medicine goes to scientists for discovery of hepatitis C virus

The Nobel Committee for Physiology or Drugs/ Niklas Elmehed

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Drugs was awarded Monday to a few scientists — Harvey Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles Rice — for his or her contributions to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. Their work helped establish the virus, which might trigger cirrhosis and liver most cancers, and helped result in life-saving blood checks and coverings, mentioned the Nobel Committee. 

“For the primary time in historical past, the Hepatitis C virus can now be cured,” reads a tweet from the Nobel Prize account on Monday. “The 2020 Drugs Laureates’ discoveries revealed the reason for the remaining circumstances of continual hepatitis and made potential blood checks and new medicines which have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

The scientists’ work constructed on one another’s analysis to level the best way to the invention of hepatitis C. Alter, who was on the US Nationwide Institutes of Well being, studied the incidence of hepatitis in sufferers who had obtained blood transfusions, and he demonstrated that an unknown virus was a typical reason behind continual hepatitis. Whereas working for the pharmaceutical agency Chiron, Houghton used new methods to isolate the genome of the virus, which then was named hepatitis C. Rice, a researcher at Washington College in St. Louis, offered the ultimate proof that the hepatitis C virus alone might trigger the unexplained circumstances of hepatitis.

The invention of the hepatitis C virus is a “landmark achievement within the ongoing battle in opposition to viral ailments,” mentioned the Nobel Committee on Monday. The work of Alter, Houghton and Rice has improved world well being by “basically eradicated post-transfusion hepatitis in lots of elements of the world,” the committee mentioned, and it additionally led to the event of delicate blood checks and antiviral medication to assist deal with hepatitis C.

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Carrie Mihalcik